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June 24, 2010

10 Quick n Easy Snack Recipes Under 15 mins

Raise your hands if you are not on the lookout for quick and easy snack recipes you can make in as little time as possible.

Yep, that's what I thought. I have a easy snack recipes in here that are kid-friendly and takes very little effort and time. While I love good food, I don't necessarily agree that you need to slog for hours in the kitchen to get it together. Some of these recipes may take a few mins over 15 depending on the quantities you make. I usually make snacks for just TH and I and it hardly takes time. Most of my snack recipes are the quick kind and I like to get in and out of the kitchen as soon as possible, especially when I am deep frying and it's so hot in the kitchen! 

I hope you like this list of quick Indian snack recipes. Leave a note if you would like to see any other recipe added to the list. 



















10. Godumai Adai (Sweetened with Jaggery)


June 22, 2010

Ethakka Appam Recipe | Pazham Pori Recipe | A Kerala Snack Recipe

Ethakka appam, pazham pori, whatever its called, holds a special place in the cuisine of Kerala. Its a quintessential Malayali snack and you get to buy it in every restaurant, roadside snack carts, trains, hostel canteens, college cafes, you name it! For making the perfect Pazham Pori, you need very ripe bananas (more on the banana used for pazham pori, below) as this could really make ir break the taste of your ethakka appam.

Ethakka Appam Recipe

Yes, it's deep fried, yes, it's coated in all purpose flour, but Pazham Pori is worth it and I want you to take my word on this.

June 18, 2010

Honey Chilli Potato Roast Recipe - Easy Potato Roast Recipe

This honey chilli potato roast recipe has probably spent the maximum number of days in my bookmarks. At the time I read this, I had just  moved to Singapore and didn't have a kitchen, let alone sesame oil and the rest of the ingredients this recipe requires. I finally made it a few weeks back and it was as yummy as I had imagined. Thank you Rajani for a keeper of a potato recipe that's both easy and delicious.


Sesame Heavenly Potatoes

You may also want to try this super easy recipe for Indian potato roast that goes great with rice or our ever-popular potato masala recipe for poori. While the following recipe has a tinge of sweetness, it does taste amazing even to someone who prefers spicy side dishes to rice or pretty much anything (that's me, by the way).

Heavenly Sesame Potatoes in Sweet Tomato Sauce
Adapted from: Rajani's EatWriteThink


Ingredients:
Serves: 2

2 large potatoes, cut into wedges (I used russet potatoes)
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 tomatoes, sliced into small pieces
1 small capsicum (or half of one), chopped fine
2 tsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar or honey (white sugar is also fine)
1 tsp crushed garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic paste)
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tbsp gingelly / sesame oil (must use this oil)
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves or spring onions, for garnish

How to make Honey Chilli Roasted Potatoes:

1. Shallow fry the potato wedges in oil until golden brown. Set aside to drain on a kitchen napkin.

2. In the remaining oil, add the onions and garlic and fry until golden brown. Then add the chilly powder and fry for a minute. Then add the tomatoes and saute until soft and mushy.

3. Turn heat to high and add the soya sauce and sugar. Fry on high for a minute and lower to medium heat. Add the capsicum and salt and mix well. Remove from fire after about 3-5 minutes.

4. Spoon this sauce over the potatoes and serve warm with garnish.

Heavenly Potatoes Recipe II


June 16, 2010

Beans Mezhukkupuratti / Stir Fried French Beans Recipe

Beans Mezhukkupuratti (stir-fried) recipe. What do you get when you lightly fry up any chopped vegetable and a paste of shallots and garlic in some oil and  add salt and some chilly powder? Mezhukkupuratti! Its a quintessential Kerala side dish, often made to complement a gravy that's coconut-rich (is it wrong that my mouth is watering as I type this?).

Anyway, this beans mezhukkupuratti is not just any mezhukkupuratti. This is Pennamma chechy's recipe. Pennamma chechy was my best friend's maid. Yeah, I will give you a minute to figure that out.

Ok so, Deepa, my BFF, had a maid called Pennamma chechy, a typical Catholic lady who cooked amazing Kerala food and each time I eat at Deepa's place, there's always mezhukkupuratti and it's always always yummy. Once I asked her for the recipe and since then, I have never made mezhukkupuratti any other way. You may also wish to check out this carrot beetroot stir fry and stir-fried jackfruit seeds (chakka kuru)

Beans Mezhukkupuratti / Stir Fry II

Beans Mezhukkupuratti
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1 cup French beans, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced (optional)
8-10 shallots (also called sambar onion)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp jeera / jeerakam
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of turmeric
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds and jeera. When the seeds pop, add the onions (if using), beans and the curry leaves.

2. Lower fire to sim and stir fry the beans until almost cooked. This will take about 12-15 minutes.

3. Grind the shallots and garlic with the turmeric powder and add to the cooked beans. Increase the heat a bit and fry, stirring well, until the shallot-garlic paste is golden brown.

4. Add salt and chilly powder. Fry for another minute.

Beans Mezhukkupuratti / Stir Fry

Serve hot with steamed rice and any coconut based gravy, like thella pulusu or theeyal.

June 14, 2010

Soya Chunks Kurma Recipe | Soya Chunks Vegetable Kurma Recipe

We like soya chunks, for its meaty texture, for its flavour-absorbing nature and for all that protein and fiber it hides in there. What we are not a fan of is the smell it gives out. Here are a couple of tips shared by readers in my Chilli Soya Chunks Recipe post. While I have tried many Soya Chunks Recipes, I had never used any tip to remove the smell in soya chunks. Try the following if you want to make your soya chunks dish smell better! 

- Add some minced garlic to the nuggets and boil in water for 5 mins. Cool, squeeze out extra water and use
- Soak nuggets in a bowl of hot water along with 3-4 spoons of milk - that takes away the raw soya taste and leaves the soya nuggets creamy and smooth.

I have tried and they both work. I used the second method for this Soya Chunks Kurma recipe. The list of ingredients may seem long but its all pantry staple in an Indian kitchen so you won't need to go running for anything, hopefully :)

Soya Chunks Kurma Recipe | Soya Chunks Vegetable Kurma Recipe

{You may also like this Soya Chunks Biryani Recipe}

June 9, 2010

Sofra Turkish Cafe Review, Beach Road, Singapore

When someone like Joann decides to pack up and head back to where she came from, it calls for a lot of heavy-duty surprise throwing, and eating at new places, and ordering of cupcakes from far away lands (which ended up not happening since the cupcake people told me they need 4 days advance notice. Really? Do I look like someone who knows what I want 4 days from now?).


What did happen was this fun lunch with some people from the team at Sofra Turkish Cafe and Restaurant on Beach Road.


The place was decorated quite nicely and made it seem like a fancier place than it actually would have been--minus the decorations. Ok, that didn't make any sense. I should stick to talking about the food. 


The menu was not extensive but had enough choices to make you go "I want that.. or maybe that... oh wait, I want this!"


We ordered some sesame bread and hummus for the table. The bread was extremely soft on the top and crusty at the base with tons of sesame seeds sprinkled over the top for a nice crunch. 


The hummus was delicious and with the sesame bread, it made for a very nice start to the meal. 


A few of us got drinks. Here's my peach juice (was nice as far as peach juices go)...


Joann's sour cherry juice..


and Anand's Ayran (tasted a bit like chaas)


My main dish was called Adana Kebab which was basically herbed chicken kebab. It was quite delicious but the attractive part was their presentation.


It came on a mini sword!


Joann got the Beyti kabab which are rolls filled with minced chicken and spices with tomato sauce over it. It was very firm and held its shape while we passed it around on a fork and tasted quite good. Although that serving doesn't look big, it was apparently very filling. 


Anand's order - the famous Turkish Mussaka. I had heard a lot about this dish but the taste disappointed me. It had bread and eggplant and tomatoes and some meat and overall, didn't impress me. Pass. 


A few people got the Chef's plate which is basically a mix of different breads and kebabs and salads. Yum. 


Erika's Doner Kebab Rice, nothing to write home about but this was the cheapest thing on the menu (SGD 8.50) so for the price, it was very good, with the most substantial portion of salad. 


There were some stuffed figs being passed around the table and they were.. good. If you like figs maybe you'd enjoy them more. 

I was quite pleased with their decor and their presentation. Each dish was presented beautifully and had a good serving of salad and rice. The portion sizes are just right if you are hungry. 

Average cost per person was about SGD 22-25 depending on what we ordered. Avg. price for main dishes is about SGD 12-14 so if you stick to just that, your meal should be cheaper. 

Sofra Turkish Cafe and Restaurant
100 Beach Road #02-42/43/44
Shaw Tower
Shaw Leisure Gallery 
Singapore 189702
Tel: (65) 6291 1433

For Reservation: 
Tel (65) 6291 1433

How to reach there?
By Bus :
SBS 100, 107, 57, TIB 961
By MRT :
Bugis Station (abt 3 mins walk)
City Hall Station (abt 5 mins walk)

Disclaimer: Not a paid review. I went there, ate, paid for my meal, and left. 

June 7, 2010

Tiramisu Cake Recipe - Dorie Greenspan's Tiramisu Cake Recipe

I am not a huge fan of Tiramisu (but I do have a good classic tiramisu recipe here) because while I love coffee, I don't like coffee-flavoured things. Yes, I realise that's slightly weird, but that's me! That's not to say I haven't tasted and loved some fabulous Tiramisu but if it's on a dessert table, I won't reach out for it. But this Tiramisu Cake, whoah, this is a whole different story altogether. It's complex in its flavours and probably one of the most time-consuming cakes I have baked. I had to bake the basic sponge and refrigerate it overnight which makes it look a bit dense in the pictures but oh my, once you have let it sit out for a while, the cake turns super spongy and tastes delicious with the syrup and gorgeous mascarpone frosting. 

I took step by step pictures but I am too exhausted to post them all here. There are many steps, this cake makes you work for it!

But I'll be damned if I don't show those pics the light of day so I will be posting step by steps as soon as I can spare some time and energy for that. For now, the final version(s). 


Like everyone else, I wish I had used more syrup to soak the cake. Also, I made the mistake of refrigerating this too soon so the syrup only soaked through about 1cm of the cake. 

But trust me when I say it tasted great! I wish I had the patience to decorate it a bit but I was out of cocoa powder. 

What I did have, were strawberries. 


It was intense, filling, dense, and the kick the brandy gave was amazing! I would make this again but probably have the recipe and fill a glass with the layers. The mascarpone cheese is creamy and amazing for frosting so I am definitely buying more of that soon!


The Recipe for Dorie's Tiramisu Cake 

For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour (make your own cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone (store-bought or homemade)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.

Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.
To make the extract:

Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
To make the filling and frosting:

Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

June 6, 2010

How To Make Cake Flour

Some cake recipes call for cake flour instead of all purpose flour or maida, which is what we are all used to. So what is cake flour?

I have realised over the past few months that all these fancy-shmancy things they sell in specialty stores are very easy to make on our own (yes, I we can also make cinnamon sugar at home, trust me). Also, if you buy one pack of cake flour, you are left with the leftover and then need to go looking for more recipes that require cake flour.

Anyway, here's you can make your own cake flour:

 
Measure out 1 cup of maida or all purpose flour

Remove 2 tbsp of flour from it


Add 2 tbsp of cornflour / cornstarch instead


Sift well (atleast 4 times)


Store in a container or use immediately for your cake recipe!

How easy was that?

June 3, 2010

Aloo Posto - Bengali Aloo Poshto Recipe

Reema sent me this recipe for Bengali Aloo Posto ages ago (over a year back, to be precise). I had to first get some poppy seeds from India because apparently they are not available (aka banned) in Singapore. Poppy seeds are said to induce a high and generally make you sleepy if you take it in large quantities. Although this aloo posto disappoints in that regard, there's a payasam / payesh they make in Karnataka that is said to have this effect, and that's next in my agenda ;)

Looking for more Indian potato recipes? Then check out this Punjabi aloo gobi recipe, potato soya chunks masala, or these baked garlic potato wedges, one of my favourite evening snacks. 

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are also used in Kerala cooking, although sparingly. It is a good substitute for coconut (definitely not in flavour but in consistency) and I used to make this chicken curry with poppy seeds / khus khus that was such a hit that each time we bought chicken at home, which was rarely, I would insist on making this dish with some of it. 


Soaking is necessary to get the seeds rolling. Always soak in warm water for 15-20 mins before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. 

Kalonji

Meet kalonji. It looks a lot like black sesame seeds but kalonji is actually Nigella, or black caraway or popularly known in Bengal as Kala Jeera (black jeera). I have no relationship with these seeds, mind you. I am using them for the first time in this dish and they give a nice crunch to the aloo posto. Ah, the joys of experimenting. 


Bengali Aloo Posto (Potato in Poppy Seed Paste) Recipe

Ingredients:
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
2-3 tbsp khus-khus / posto / poppy seeds
1 tbsp mustard oil (I used normal cooking oil)
1 tbsp kalonji / kala jeera / nigella seeds
2 Green chillies, slit (I used 3 dry red chillies since I was out of green chillies)
1 tsp ghee
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Soak the poppy seeds in 1 cup warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain (use a tea strainer, the seeds will stick to your fingers and generally annoy you) and grind to a smooth paste. Add water by the tsp while grinding if it gets too thick. 

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the kalonji. Fry for about 2 mins. Then add the potatoes and cook for 5 mins, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Make sure that your flame is kept to medium. 

3. Now add the poppy seed paste and the red chillies, broken into halves (or the green chillies which is what you should actually be using).  Fry for 3 mins and then top off with about a cup of water and cook covered for 10-12 mins until the potatoes are cooked through. 

4 .Stir in salt and sugar. The mixture should be thick and the poppy seeds paste should be sticking to the potato pieces by now. 

5. Remove from fire, stir in the ghee and serve warm with rice. 




The flavour was like nothing I had ever tasted. We immensely enjoyed this simple dish although next time I think I would make sure I add green chillies or maybe throw in a couple more red chillies.